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Race within a race

This posting was meant to be about my race. The 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) road cycling event at the Maine Senior Games. But Hurricane Lee got in the way and the competition has been rescheduled for October 15. So my chance to defend my gold medal performance from last year will have to wait.

That being said, I've decided to delve into another kind of contest. With the recent conclusion of the season's third Grand Tour — the Vuelta a Espana and won by American Sepp Kuss of Colorado — I thought it would be interesting to share some trivia about the publicity race that takes place in the granddaddy of them all, namely the Tour de France. A sort of race within a race.

It takes a ton of money to run a professional cycling team. Viewing the estimated budgets of the UCI WorldTour teams for 2023, at the lower end of the scale is Alpecin-Deceuninck at $6.4 million to $8.5 million. Number one on the spending sheet is Ineos Grenadiers at $48 million to $53 million. You're probably wondering — like I did — where do these high-flying pedal pushers get their dough in order to participate in this expensive sport?

A large chunk of it comes by way of each team's title sponsors. Below is a listing of the twenty-two squads that took the starting line at this year's Tour de France. It shows the team name, their primary backers and the services they provide, and in which country the sponsors are headquartered.


* AG2R Citroën

AG2R (France) insurance firm

Citroen (France) automobile manufacturer

* Alpecin-Deceuninck

Alpecin (Germany) shampoo brand

Deceuninck (Belgium) plastic and composite window and door systems

* Arkéa–Samsic

Arkéa (France) mutual cooperative bank

Samsic (France) facility management support services

* Astana Qazaqstan

Samruk-Kazyna (Kazakhstan) coalition of state-owned companies and team named after Astana, its capital city

* Bora–Hansgrohe

BORA (Germany) manufacturer of extractor hoods and cooktops

Hansgrohe (Germany) bathroom and kitchen fittings manufacturer

* Cofidis

Cofidis (France) money-lending company

* EF Education-EasyPost

EF Education (Switzerland) international education company

EasyPost (United States, Utah) shipping applications

* Groupama-FDJ

Groupama (France) insurance group

FDJ (France) operator of national lottery

* Ineos Grenadiers

Ineos (England) multi-national chemicals company

* Intermarché-Circus-Wanty

Intermarché (France) supermarket chain

Circus (Belgium) online sportsbook

Wanty (Belgium) engineering firm

* Lidl-Trek

Lidl (Germany) supermarket chain

Trek (United States, Wisconsin) bicycle manufacturer

* Movistar

Telefonica (Spain) mobile telephone company, team named after brand

* Soudal Quick-Step

Soudal (Belgium) producer of silicone and caulks, polyurethane foams and adhesives

Quick-Step (Belgium) flooring

* Bahrain Victorious

Government of Bahrain

* DSM-Firmenich

DSM-Firmenich (Netherlands) health, nutrition, and fragrances company

* Jayco-AlUla

Jayco (United States, Indiana) manufacturer of recreation vehicles

AlUla — area in Saudi Arabia

* Jumbo-Visma

Jumbo (Netherlands) supermarket chain

Visma (Norway) software company

* UAE Team Emirates

Government of United Arab Emirates and Emirates airline

* Israel-Premier Tech

Israel — team owners pro-Israeli, but not backed by government of Israel

Premier Tech (Canada) tech company

* Lotto-Dstny

Lotto (Belgium) lottery

Dstny (Belgium) business communications provider

* TotalEnergies

Total Direct Energie (France) international electric utility company

* Uno-X Pro

Uno-X (Denmark) fuel station chain

What's surprising is that most of these contributing businesses — in fact, all but one — have nothing to do with bicycles, directly speaking. But, keep in mind, the folks paying the bills are looking for maximum publicity and exposure — in the world's most celebrated cycling race. And they are more than willing to fork over big bucks. Stay safe!

Non-biking days are often baking days, which in turn necessitates more riding.

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